The primary phase of a worldwide Covid vaccination trial on children and teens conducted by Chinese manufacturer Sinovac Biotech began in South Africa on Friday, with the first two participants injected in Pretoria.
In Chile, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Africa, 14,000 children aged six months to 17 years are being tested for the effectiveness of Sinovac’s two-dose CoronaVac.
CoronaVac is authorized for use in over 50 countries among adults. It was recently approved for use in minors in China, where it has already been provided to millions of youngsters aged three to seventeen.
In South Africa, where immunization has not yet been given to children under the age of 18, the research began with two adolescents being vaccinated on the bright campus of Pretoria’s Sefako Makgatho Health Science University.
“We find a lot of milder and less severe illness in youngsters, but they are still susceptible,” Sanet Aspinall, project director, told reporters at the event.
“They are… acquiring the virus and then transmitting it to the rest of the population,” she stated, ensuring that the Chinese vaccination was safe.
Pfizer and Moderna, both of which are based in the United States, have also conducted pediatric studies for their injections, causing many nations to approve them for children of varied ages.
Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council, urged the government to follow suit.
“Delaying the inclusion of children in the Covid vaccination trials compromises our capacity to limit Covid-19,” she stated at the event on Friday.
More than a third of South Africa’s population is under the age of 19.
The country has recruited 2,000 people in the research, which is being conducted in conjunction with Sinovac’s local partner Numolux Group.
According to Numolux officials, Sinovac is also in negotiations about establishing a vaccine production plant in South Africa to offer the continent with vaccines against a variety of illnesses.